Michaela Partridge 0

Improve rape investigation conduct and victim assistance programs in Brighton, UK

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On April 16th, 2015, I was sexually assaulted by a man who preyed on me for over two hours at the Bulldog nightclub in Brighton, UK. I was maliciously taken to an apartment when I should have been taken home. A suspect was identified months later and claimed that the incident was "totally consensual", despite evidence that I was in no state to consent (reported to detectives that I was unconscious when it happened) and experienced injuries that were never taken seriously. The detective assigned to my case explained that I did not appear credible because I appeared on cctv to be talking to men at the bar and flirting despite my claim that I was gay and in a relationship. In addition, I was scrutinized for having showered after the incident and having waited almost a day to report.

My story is one of pursuing justice and of seeing it slip away. I not only became a victim of sexual assault, but of a system unprepared to deal with these cases properly. While it was evident that harm had been done to me, it was also evident that those assigned to my case were not educated in understanding or considering a victims' fears and compulsions to come forward. I fell victim to a system that allowed a suspect to exonerate himself with two words without further investigation. "Totally consensual". These were two words that also effectively broke my spirit and reinforced the cultural script in my mind that I let it happen. My gender expression and identity were put on a chopping block. Neither myself nor any other victim should feel discriminated against because they appear "flirtatious" or identify as "gay". Rape does not discriminate against these things; our criminal justice system shouldn't either.

Beginning with Brighton and Hove, with the goal of spreading globally, it's time that action be taken to ensure our community that those who do come forward will receive a fair investigation by well trained professionals. I encourage all those who agree to sign this petition, in hopes that the Police Commissioner and Mayor and all other officials will show up and make it known that they are doing all they can to prepare those assigned to cases so that gender justice is prioritized and the victim experience is believed.

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